“Trust me. I’m older than you.”
“Have you gained weight?”
“New York isn’t for everyone.”
No, New York City isn’t for everyone…just like anal sex and crystal meth. I’m super sensitive about my weight but whenever I hear someone say New York isn’t for everyone, I see red. This phrase is nothing more than an insulting, non-contextual blanket statement and it pisses me off.
New York City is tough. There’s no doubt about it but just because a non-native decides to leave shouldn’t reflect poorly on them! That doesn’t make them weak. That makes them strong. Stronger than Britney Spears had to be when she discovered mid-interview that Ryan Seacrest “likes girls.”
It takes strength to move anywhere. It doesn’t matter if it’s moving to New York City, to Lisbon or simply going back to your basic hometown in Oregon. To pack up and bid adieu takes gumption. Most of us get comfortable in our situations, good or bad and we settle in with the dust bunnies in the corners of our apartments. I am fascinated by those who take the action to leave this concrete metropolis full of sex, danger and the best bookstore this country has to offer. Over the years, I, myself, have considered leaving so I sat down with myself just now to flesh out some reasons why.
#1: BECAUSE OF VARIOUS REASONS
Some people are simply happier being close to their family. For others, they might have a job opportunity that better fits their overarching career goals. Maybe it’s love that’s causing them to close up shop and hit the road. For many, it’s to relocate somewhere with a lower cost of living.
Heading out to Los Angeles? Housing will cost you approximately 26% less.* Chicago’s housing is a staggering 52% less.* Denver? 57% less!* You catch my drift that living in other well-developed cities can cost you far less. The main downside that I’ve had to unpack and work through is the smaller job markets. There are just far fewer jobs in the entertainment space in Chicago than in Brooklyn alone. But for the person who wants to work in finance or pharma, you’ll be good just about anywhere you’d like to go!
#2 BECAUSE THEY’RE OVER THE STRUGGLE
It’s not only artists who think struggling is glamorous. Other non-artistic New Yorkers think so, too. They truly believe you’ll only “make it” if you’ve struggled throughout your entire journey. People will skip lunch twice a week for a month just to afford their apartment’s rent and barely have enough for a dinner out with friends and refill their MetroCard.
You could earn six-figures and still potentially need a roommate if you wanted to have any funds to actually live. You could leave for work on time and still show up late because the train has been rerouted to another line, is being held momentarily due to train traffic, is being held momentarily because of a sick passenger or is bypassing the next 50 stops because of construction so you’d be better off walking from your apartment in Brooklyn to your office in the Lower East Side to save time.
On a cool day, try casually walking down the street. You can’t because you’ll soon be reminded that the sidewalks are basically an unregulated game of touch football. It’s exhausting. It drains your positive energy and fills you up with negative juice. You can watch all of the Oprah you want to help put your life on the right path. Living in this city can still be more annoying than your aunt commenting on how much weight you’ve gained since she last saw you. Yes, the struggle is real. No, that shit is not cute.
#3 BECAUSE IT’S THEIR PREROGATIVE
I don’t care if you’re based in New York, Paris or Buford, Wyoming, every city on the planet has its pros and cons. There is no utopia on planet earth so if you want to move the fuck out of New York City, move out of New York City! That is your right and no one else can tell you otherwise. Plain and simple.
Actress Priyanka Chopra recently gave an interview where she said, and I’m paraphrasing, that the world was too small to call one place home. She is a very beautiful citizen of the world.
I want to follow her lead.
So, to anyone non-native New Yorker living in any of the five boroughs, if you’re being shit on by people who don’t understand why you want to move away, tell them that you are a strong, brave, beautiful citizen of the world and it is your God-given choice to move on. If they still give you crap, go full Tonya Harding on them and have that be that.
*Data collected from CNN’s Cost of Living calculator